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Add to My CitationsTo Joseph H. Twichell
29 January 1876 • Hartford, Conn.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCCL 12941)
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[written on envelope of enclosed letter:]

You may return this, Joe.1


the atlantic monthly. the riverside press, cambridge, mass. | S. L. Clemens, | Hartford | Conn. [postmarked:] cambridge sta. mass. jan 28


editorial office of the atlantic monthly.
the riverside press, cambridge, mass.

Jan. 27, 1876.

My dear Clemens:

I shall not be able to come down to Hartford this Saturday, but I am getting the better of my literary misery,2 and you may depend upon seeing me very soon.

In the meantime I must tell you what an immense success the Literary Nightmare is, though you know already. It took here instantly. The day the number came out, I dined at Ernest Longfellow’s, and before I got into the parlor, I heard him and Tom Appleton urging each other to punch with care. They said the Longfellow ladies all had it by heart, and last night at the Fieldses they told me that Boston was simply devastated by it. And everybody appreciates and enjoys the way you have set the thing. In my own family it is simply a nuisance. John clacks it off at mealtimes till boxed into silence, and then Pilla starts up with, “Punch, brullers, punch with care!” I heard of its raging similarly in families all along this street, and of course Harvard is full of it.3

When are you going to send me that paper you read before your Club? Let me see it even if you don’t want to publish it.4

Yours ever

W. D. Howells.

Explanatory Notes

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1 The enclosed letter was a reply to the unrecovered invitation Clemens had sent to Howells around 24 January (see 18 Jan 76 to Howells, n. 5). Clemens passed it on to Twichell, who was quite friendly with Howells and had been allowed to share a Howells letter at least once before (see L6, passim, especially 301 n. 1). Twichell responded in the course of a letter of 3 February 1876 (CU-MARK):
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Mrs. Davis, wife of G. F. Davis, president of the City National Bank of Hartford, was corresponding secretary of the Hartford Orphan Asylum. David Hawley, Hartford’s lay city missionary, had died on 31 January 1876, just short of his sixty-seventh birthday. Clemens’s last known public assistance to Hawley had come on 5 March 1875, when he delivered his “Roughing It” lecture and raised over $1,200 for Hawley’s charitable work (Geer 1875, 58, 292, 299; L5, 289–90 n. 1; L6, 392–94, 402–3, 409; “A Good Man Gone,” Hartford Courant, 1 Feb 76, 2).

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2 “Private Theatricals.”

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3 In addition to his children John (1868–1959) and Mildred (Pilla; 1872–1966), Howells mentioned or alluded to: “A Literary Nightmare” (SLC 1876); Ernest Longfellow (1845–1921), the painter son of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Thomas Gold Appleton (1812–84), essayist, poet, artist and art collector, Boston wit, brother-in-law of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and uncle of Ernest; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s daughters, Alice Mary (1850–1928), Edith (1853–1915), and Annie Allegra (1855–1934) (Longfellow’s wife, Frances, had died in 1861 as a result of burns suffered in a household accident); Harriet Longfellow, wife of Ernest; and James T. Fields (1817–81) and his wife, Annie (1834–1915).

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4 ”The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut.” See 11 Jan 76 to Howells, n. 5; SLC 1876.

glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, CU-MARK, written on the envelope of William Dean Howells to SLC, 27 January 1876, UCLC 32275.

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph MTHL, 1:124–25, partial publication.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphSee Mark Twain Papers in Description of Provenance.